Sorry, this newsletter has been a bit of a bugger it was sent out 2 weeks ago before our trip to Saigon. I apologise if you have already received it but I have had trouble sending it and I'm sure most of you never got it. The woes of living in a 3rd world country, not everything goes to plan.

Sawadee everyone hope you all had a great Christmas and that 2010 turns out to be a good year for you all. We are back in Phuket now after spending Xmas with family in Melbourne, the weather was typical Melbourne 39c one day, 21c the next. Nice to get back to some stable weather 33c everyday. Cindy and I are of to Singapore on Thursday to meet her brother and his wife, then all 4 of us head to Saigon for a few days. We finally have a half decent internet connection so life is feeling a little more normal, not having internet access is like losing an arm. This newsletter is a bit of a ramble with lots of stuff that goes back a bit, sorry for the delay & as usual I'm pushed for time to get it out.

Swagman Images
Hi again Derek and your good lady Cindy,
Your excellent website prompted me after all these years to get some of my slides transferred to cd,here is just a small sample of them which you might find of interest.One of Norm working on VD Vera which you have featured in the film clip on your website.
Bye for now ,and hope to talk sometime soon,i'll tell you the real story of wing wings demise then!
Cheers for now........Graham Libbey

Swaggy buses being prepard for the trip to India, note the Sundowners Plaxton getting the once over, we did repairs etc for many of the tour companies. In the 3rd picture is VDV 749 (VD Vera), that is the bus that still exists but is back in its original Royal Blue colours,

The Jungles of India
Hi Derek,
Having a good time wandering around the jungles here. However Delhi was a bit of a nightmare - have never seen the pollution as bad....Anyway, here in the Himalayan Foothills its hot daytime and cool at nights which suits me fine !. Attached is a picture of my room and the links below are for a couple of video clips I took using a 'motion activated' Trailcamera. Am hoping to get the local Tigress on video - its around. Anyway please click on the links below which show Chital Deer at a salt lick and a pair of porcupines at night.

Derek —

You might like to know that Michael Gearey's 'First Overland Second' project to recreate the original journey 55 years on now has its own website, hosted by the Land-Rover Series 1 Club. You can visit it at



Encounter 1977 - 78

Attached some old photos from 77 and 78 that may jog some fading memories out there. The trick to not driving off the road when crossing a flooded river is to ask a few luckless punters to walk in front of the truck and blaze a trail! If I remember we did tie them together though! The stuck in the mud shot was actually outside Kathmandu Guest House on day one of the trip!

Great newsletter, thanks for all your hard work. Paul

Afghanistan Documentary - Seeking Contributors
We are researching a documentary about Afghanistan and people's impression of the land from their travels. This film is being made in Australia so if you've been to Afghanistan in the past 40 years and are Australian we want to hear from you!
We're interested in hearing your stories / experiences / impressions of the country and its people.
Please contact Louise on: or phone 08 8348 9366 (Adelaide).
Mail Bag

Hi I just stumbled onto your site, fantastic.. I was a Top Deck driver from 1976 to 1981. I was on the overland route from 1978 until 1981 both as a driver and later a courier when I did the London to Sydneys.
I have a film which i have had converted to a DVD f the Top Deck promo films for their overland. We at Top Deck have kept together over the years, old crews still get together each year to bullshit one another. I recently set about tracing the passengers and crew from one particular overland, the one which the promo film was made. I was the driver on one of the two buses. Anyway I managed to track down about 34 of the 44 people involved and we will get together after christmas. One of them, a dutch guy had his own film, a 20 minute film of the trip through his eyes, something I was unaware of. He has just had that converted to DVD and I hope to get to see it soon.

Anyway I have enjoyed your site and will refer it to my my mates at TDT. Trevor Carroll

Keith McKewan in Canada here Overland to Bombay from London Oct. 1967. I have posted 10 pictures a few years ago, hopefully a few more soon. Actually I picked up the bus in Triest, we were to hook up with it in Munich, but missed it and took the train to Triest, and happened to come across some people there that were on the bus.That was about mid Oct. 1967, so this time of year always think about those
old friends on the road to Kathmandu. Derek also meant to say quite a few people looking at my photo's , so looks like a lot more people have discovered the site, or like me retired and have time to do this.
I was in Bangkok Jan. 1968 remember the Thi Song Greet Rest. it was a great meeting place for travellers. I didn't stay there, but visited every day.
On a historical note: I had a flight booked for Saigon on Jan 31st, early in the A.M. but that was the day of the Tet Offensive. Glad I didn't go the day before. Quite scarry at the time, I got a plane to Hong Kong that day, and then to Tokyo.
Keith Mckewan

I was interested to see the photos posted by Rob McKay in the last Newsletter.The truck looks very like the one I drove for Hughes Overland out to Kathmandu and back in 1977.The photos were, I think,from Afghanistan I cannot now remember if the concrete section road shown was Kabul-Kandahar or Kandahar-Herat.
I know all too well the overheating problem with the Bedford.The expansion tank would "blow" and make a noise like an elephant.The other major weakness was the transfer box bolts shearing on the four wheel drive version-ours was held on with rope at times when I drove for Exodus.No wonder that in India they asked why the Bedford was a "bad ford".
In 1977 I went out in the truck shown (or its twin) with Mike Sykes as my trainee (later the Managing Director of Dragoman Overland). Mike had his own Bedford RL on the way back (driven out by John Vincent) but went down with hepatitis in Kabul and Jo Thompson flew out to take over.
Chris Wright

Hi Derek I am just back from a Tour to Borneo and a self drive holiday around Malaysia which has just seen me complete the last Overland route back from Nepal via various overland routes to Aussie and Auckland. E.g Nepal India Sri Lanka China Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Indonesia by land and sail boat East Islands to Timor and now in 2009 finally the overland route through Borneo and Malaysia. I have been doing one a year when I could for the past 25 years.
B J Cossar ex Contiki

Hi Derek,
Thanks for the newsletter. I would be interested to make contact again with fellow "passengers" on the April 1969 Encounter Overland trip from London to Katmandu; the driver was John ...........(I forget!).
Are you also covering Africa? Again with EO, the September 1971 trip from London to Jo'burg, with driver Peter (who I think married Barbara? from NZ, one of the passengers) - I've lost touch with everyone.

Thanks for the website, Bob Summers

Hi Derek
Love the site and content - I used to drive for Encounter Overland in the early 80’s. Mainly on the Kathmandu run.The site brings back many memories.
I now run a self drive overland operation in Africa called Safari Drive ( which does appeal to past overland clients – is there and chance of placing a link or an advert ?

Hope the beers are cold in Phuket !!

Cheers Charles Norwood - Safari Drive

To help premote the India Overland website would you please Recommend us to a Friend. Just use this link to spread the word.
If you have any stories or pictures related to the Overland I would love to get a copy. Lists of passengers or just the ones you can remember would be a great addition to this project. To view back issues of this newsletter use this LINK. You can post anything to the Forum if you prefer, all info would be greatly received.

If you would like to be removed from this newsletter please send an email to Make sure you ask me to remove the email address that it was sent to not one it is redirect to, thanks.

This new letter is produced by Derek Amey - Phuket Thailand.